Why Is My Chihuahua So Skinny?  

Chihuahuas make a perfect choice for people who love small dogs and live in compact spaces because they are the smallest breed in the world. 

But being tiny does not mean they are healthy at whatever weight they have. Do you often look at your chihuahua and wonder Why Is My Chihuahua So Skinny? Then, this is the post for you!

In this article, we will cover:

  • 9 Reasons Why your Chihuahua is so Skinny
  • Signs that your chihuahua is too skinny
  • What to do when your chihuahua is skinny
  • And more… 
Why Is My Chihuahua So Skinny

 9 Reasons Why Your Chihuahua Is So Skinny

Your chihuahua is so skinny due to an underlying health condition resulting in poor appetite, selective eating, lack of nutrition in food, dental problems, anxiety, EPI, hyperthyroidism, and intestinal parasites. 

If your chihuahua is underweight, there could be several reasons for this. Here, we have discussed the top 9 reasons why your chihuahua is so skinny:

1. Poor Appetite

Dogs, like humans, may have days when their appetite is poor and eat less than their usual amount. 

However, according to Dr. Ellen Malmanger, DVM, a decreased appetite or loss of appetite for more than 24 hours should not be ignored. 

This is a sign that something’s not right. Most often dogs suffer from any underlying conditions in this case. Additionally, this could be because of some stress. 

This is not it. Sometimes, dogs stop eating because the food is spoiled or expired. Even after taking utmost precaution, these things happen sometimes. 

Therefore, make sure to keep the food properly sealed and check the expiration date before serving.

2. Selective Eater

Why Is My Chihuahua So Skinny?

As a chihuahua parent, you should know that chihuahuas can be very fussy eaters when it comes to food. They generally pick their own food. 

Sometimes, you might keep too many meals in front of them, but they won’t touch anything. Have you ever thought about why?

There can be a few reasons for it like suddenly changing their diet, giving them way too many treats, change of location, stressful environment, or some underlying health issues.

Therefore, monitor your chihuahua’s actions firmly and talk to your vet. In case you want to make some diet changes, do it slowly and let them settle.

3. The Food Is Deficient In Nutrients

If your dog is a fussy eater, chances are the food it eats lacks important nutrients. 

Since your chihuahua eats the same type of food every day, they are not eating a balanced diet. 

It is the reason they look skinny and underweight. Additionally, they are at a higher risk of having skin and haircoat-related diseases due to nutritional deficiencies.

According to Dr. Malcolm Weir, DVM, and Dr. Robin Downing, DVM of the VCA Hospital, approximately 25% of dog visits to the vet involve problems with skin and haircoat. 

If your dog has low-fat content or poor quality fat and protein in its diet, there are chances it might develop nutrition related skin diseases.

Therefore, it is important to get a diet plan from the chihuahua’s veterinarian. Make sure you follow it diligently.

4. Dental Problems

Why Is My Chihuahua So Skinny?

As a chihuahua parent, another thing you should know is that periodontal diseases are very common among chihuahuas. 

The common signs of these issues are swollen and red gums, broken teeth, loose or moving teeth, plaque, tartar, blood from the mouth, inflammation around teeth, and loss of bone around molars.

If you see any such symptoms, they might be the starting of some bigger problem that can take the life of your chihuahua. So, when chihuahuas are suffering, they find it hard to chew and hence do not eat as they should. This leads to them being skinny.

This is also a very common problem for senior chihuahuas with teeth loss and find it hard to chew their meals. As a result, many senior chihuahuas grow skinnier and skinnier as the day passes. 

How can you take care of it? 

Well, in this situation, you should get the treatment done by a veterinarian. In the future, you should follow proper oral hygiene techniques by using a good quality toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental chews.

For senior chihuahuas, you can provide soft, easy to chew or swallow food such as wet dog food and treats. In addition, bring them for regular dental checks to make sure that dental health is good. 

The Arm & Hammer for Pets Tartar Control Kit and Greenies Dental Treats are our recommendations for you!

5. Stress And Anxiety

Just like humans, dogs also suffer from anxiety and stress. The Animal Kennel Club states that there are three reasons for anxiety- fear, separation, and aging.

As a result of this anxiety and stress, dogs at times do not eat properly. If this continues for a longer duration, your chihuahua might lose weight and become skinny.

Apart from this, you might witness other symptoms as well like shivering, drooling, restlessness, pacing, aggression, and destructive behavior. So, look closely at all these signs and do not take them lightly.

What are the common stressor? New environments, new owners, loud noises or mating seasons are some common ones that can cause unwanted stress to your dog. 

The best way to get your dog the required help is to consult its veterinarian. They are the best people to tell you the causes and triggers for anxiety. In addition, they can provide anti-anxiety medicines and training to your dog.

6. Underlying Health Problems 

Most of the above reasons can be a result of underlying health conditions in your dog. These health issues include parasites, infections, diabetes, dental problems, or major illness like heart disease.

You can know about these illnesses only after keeping a watch on your dog. If you notice any symptoms like vomiting, fatigue, lack of appetite, fainting, seizures, lack of coordination, the first thing is to consult your vet.

Get the necessary treatment done and follow the routine provided by them.

7. EPI 

Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM from the PetMD states that Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency has serious effects on the pancreas. Basically, it happens when cells that produce digestive hormones stop functioning effectively.

As a result, chihuahuas are not able to digest various nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. This results in malabsorption, maldigestion, and even diarrhea making your furry friend skinny.

Although dogs lose weight in EPI, they turn into voracious eaters. They start eating their own stools and other strange things. They also have extreme acidity and rough haircoat and skin.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for EPI. However, you can prevent the condition from worsening by giving correct medication lifelong. 

8. Hyperthyroidism

Although very common in cats, hyperthyroidism is seen in dogs as well. It is a condition wherein the dog’s body produces excess thyroid hormones, resulting in increased metabolism.

This condition causes weight loss among chihuahuas. In addition, this can lead to anxiety which is another cause of weight loss in chihuahuas.

However, there is nothing to worry about. Hyperthyroidism is easily treatable. If your vet diagnoses your chihuahua with it, just make sure you give your dog the medicines on time.

9. Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites can turn from minor infections to fatal infections if you show negligent behavior and do not get it treated.

The most common parasites that can enter a chihuahua’s body are tapeworm, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia, and giardia. Most dogs do not show symptoms at an early stage of infection, however, there are some exceptions. 

So, if you tapeworms and roundworms in your dog’s feces or vomit or see them rubbing and scratching their back continuously, it is an indication of parasites infections. In addition to it, they might have diarrhea and a bloated belly.

However, the good news is they are treatable and preventable. Just talk to your vet and get a preventive medication done in advance so that your furry friend does not suffer.

4 Signs That Your Chihuahua Is Too Skinny 

Why Is My Chihuahua So Skinny?

Now that you know what could be the possible reasons for your chihuahua being underweight, let us now see some common signs that will help you identify malnutrition or skinny nature in chihuahua:

1. Weight

An average adult chihuahua weighs between 3 to 6 pounds. So, if you feel your dog is weak or skinny, get your dog on the weighing scale and check its weight. If the weight is under 3 pounds, your suspicions about your chihuahua are true. 

Also, the article by Dr. Krista Williams, DVM from the VCA Hospital states that there is a pet version of the Body Mass Index (BMI) known as the Body Condition Score (BCS) that helps assess the body fat of pets. 

There are two recognized scales- 1-5 Point Scale and 1-9 Point Scale that determine the dog’s health from thin to obese. This is a good way to know if your pet is underweight, ideal weight, or obese.

2. Protruding Ribs and Hips

If you do not possess a weighing scale, here is another way to check the health of your chihuahuas. A healthy chihuahua has a well-defined waistline. So, you can feel its ribs beyond its breasts. 

But, if its entire rib cage is visible with no well-defined structure, your chihuahua is most likely skinny and underweight. Also, some pet parents notice a dramatic dip from ribs to hips in chihuahuas. 

3. No Extra Cushion

Generally, healthy dogs have cushions around their hips and shoulders. In addition, there is a soft cushion over their bones to provide extra support to the chihuahuas.

However, if your dog is underweight, there will be no such thing around its hips and shoulders. Plus, you will be able to feel their bones at the end of their tails.

4. Muscle Wasting

It is very common in old and aging chihuahuas or very ill chihuahuas. Muscle Wasting, also known as atrophy of muscle is a condition wherein dogs lose their muscle mass. 

As a result, they appear weaker and thinner than the rest of their breed. It generally starts from the hind leg and slowly spreads to other parts of the body. 

What To Do When Your Chihuahua Is Too Skinny? 6 Tips


Why Is My Chihuahua So Skinny?

1. New Feeding Schedule

If your chihuahua isn’t eating properly, there is one main reason- you are giving him too many treats. We know how you want to see your pet happy, but giving treats is just temporary happiness. In the long run, it can cause some big trouble.

No, we are not asking you to not give treats at all, just do not give them more treats than required. In addition, get a diet plan made by the veterinarian and ask about the calorie intake of your chihuahua.

Also Read: How Many Calories Should a Chihuahua Eat? 

2. Make The Food More Exciting

Just like humans, chihuahuas cannot eat the same type of food every day because they are extremely picky. Therefore, as a pet parent, it is your responsibility to add variation to their food to fatten up your skinny chihuahua.

Try to feed them both dry food and canned food. Moreover, include raw meat and vegetables in their diet once or twice a week to break the cycle of boring food.

3. Buy Only Nutritious Food

You might be aware of the fact that chihuahuas have very small mouths and weak teeth. Therefore, picking the correct food for them is of utmost importance. 

Some dog foods can damage the enamel of chihuahuas, so ask your vet to prescribe food brands for your chihuahua depending on its condition.

4. Engage In Physical Activity 

Once the puppy vaccinations are done, it is advised to take your chihuahua outside for playtime and walks. Being lively, chihuahuas like outdoors. This relieves their stress and anxiety as well.

Prefer taking your chihuahua for a walk before their mealtime. It is because they will lose a little energy and come back home hungry for food. So, they will tend to eat properly.

5. Watch Out For Signs Of Any Disease

Since dogs cannot communicate like humans, they express their problems through their actions in hope that we will understand.

So, if you watch any abnormal signs or behavior in your chihuahua, monitor it closely. If it continues for a few days, take your chihuahua to the vet and get the examination done! 

6. Consult A Vet

We know we have mentioned it earlier as well. But, taking professional advice is very important in the matters of health especially when chihuahuas are underweight.

While we can guide you in general, a vet is the only person who can tell you the exact root cause of why is my chihuahua so skinny. 

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